With the first game of the LCK season set to start in two weeks, it’s time to take a look at the individual players. To start off, let’s take a look at the top side of the map and how the top laners of the LCK will match up against each other. Following the top laners, it’ll be the jungler, mid lane, then finally the bot lane as a whole, in that order. Without further ado, let’s take a look at where each top laner ended up in the rankings!
10. Jeon “Ikssu” Ik-soo (APK Prince)
Starting off the power rankings is the pro-turned-bitcoin investor-turned-pro again, Ikssu. In Challengers Korea, Ikssu was one of the better top laners and was able to have some solid games. Along with some unconventional picks during the meta like Volibear and Illaoi, Ikssu can be a threat if he’s able to show up. However, more often than not, Ikssu struggled in Challengers. Now that he must face the best Korea has to offer in the LCK, Ikssu will most likely struggle to outperform some of the best top laners around. Overall, Ikssu is going to have to rely on his unconventional picks to catch the opponent off-guard if he wants to have an advantage.
9.Park “Untara” Ui-jin (Griffin)
Ending up at ninth in the power rankings is the former T1 top laner Untara on return from a split in Turkey playing for 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports. While it appears that Griffin will likely go with Untara for the foreseeable future as Choi “Sword” Sung-won saw no playtime during their brief KeSPA Cup run (albeit only two games were played). Still, even if Sword was to see playtime, Griffin’s top lane tandem would only move up a single spot at best as Sword’s performance is very meta dependent and his shallow champion pool can be abused.
Touching on specifically Untara now, while he had a great time in Turkey and was a solid player overall, he still ended up falling short when it mattered as he still struggled at times against some Turkish top laners. Overall his time in Turkey and his performance at KeSPA Cup has shown that he’s still not close to a top-level yet.
8.Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin (Hanwha Life Esports)
Out of all the top laners in the LCK this split, the hardest to gauge was CuVee. On average CuVee acts as the gatekeeper for good top laners as his general play has gotten worse throughout the years. However, seemingly once a split, CuVee goes through a string of matches where he’s able to turn back time and dominate his lane and be a star player once again. If CuVee is able to play at that level consistently once again, not only would he be much higher on this list, but Hanwha may have a legitimate shot at not just the playoffs but potentially a long run in the playoffs as well.
7.Jeon “Ray” Ji-won (KT Rolster)
After stints in North America and China, Ray finally makes his debut in Korea as a member of KT Rolster. While he has been fairly successful in the two regions, Ray joins the LCK at a time where he will be facing off against the new crop of up and coming top laners. Although he has the advantage of experience over the likes Kim “Canna” Chang-dong and Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, he is slightly weaker as a player currently. While Ray should be more than able to hold his own as he did in the LPL, he, unfortunately, places low on the power rankings due to the overall potential of the top laners above him.
6.Kim “Canna” Chang-dong (T1)
During his initial showing at KeSPA Cup, Canna was fairly impressive overall. He showed that he won’t be a pushover as he was able to hold his own in lane against great top laners in their own right such as Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee. While his laning was solid and will only get better as he gets more time on stage, his play in the later stages of the game once grouped up was questionable. Luckily this can easily be fixed especially when T1’s play in the late game as a team has always been fantastic. While Canna has the potential to shoot up the power rankings by the end of the split, he’ll be starting the season just outside the top five.
5.Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon (DragonX)
With one young top laner out of the way, another one follows. Taking the fifth spot on the power rankings is the former Griffin top laner Doran. Now on DragonX, staying under the watchful eyes of coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho, who should help him continue developing, this could be a big split for Doran. During his first split, Doran showed that he has the potential to become another amazing top laner. While his season was cut short due to the Griffin Scandal, a full season to play and continue his development will do him wonders. The question remains, how high is Doran’s ceiling as a player? Will he be able to develop into another Kim “Kiin” Gi-in or Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok? Or is he closer to his ceiling than expected? Only time will tell.
4.Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee (Gen.G)
After his best season to date on DragonX, Rascal finds himself on a new team and 4th on the power rankings. With a stronger jungler backing him up, expect Rascal to continue having some amazing games throughout the Spring Split. Along with that, the pressure on Rascal should be lower as he’ll likely become a clear third option to carry the game behind both Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong and Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk. Hopefully, with the reduced pressure on Rascal, he’ll be able to play better as he won’t feel the pressure to play perfectly every game.
3.Park “Summit” Woo-tae (SANDBOX Gaming)
Following a great performance through KeSPA Cup Summit finds himself as the third-best top laner heading into the Spring Split. While he was outmatched by Kim “Kiin” Gi-in, Summit was great in SANDBOX’s wins against Griffin and T1. With some solid games on the likes of Aatrox and Vladimir, Summit has shown that despite some struggles in 2019, he’s still one of the strongest top laners in Korea. Now that SANDBOX has upgraded their bot lane, SANDBOX could make a solid run through the playoffs for once. For that to happen, Summit will need to be consistent and continue to play at a top level.
2.Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon (DAMWON Gaming)
Taking the runner up spot is the former Kleptomancy master, Nuguri. After struggling at Worlds 2019, Nuguri enters the new season with a lot to prove. With the teams around him getting better and even more amazing top laners waiting to take him on, Nuguri will need to show that his performance at Worlds was a fluke and that he is still a dominant top laner. While his brief time in the KeSPA Cup was not the most reassuring performance, Nuguri should be able to recover in time for the Spring Split.
1.Kim “Kiin” Gi-in (Afreeca Freecs)
Was there ever any doubt that Kiin would be taking the top spot in the power rankings? After dominating through the KeSPA Cup, Kiin was able to remind the rest of the region that he’s still the best top laner in the region. With a stronger team around him overall, fans could likely see Kiin compete internationally once again. If he does, some hype matchups await him such as against TheShy. But for now, his focus will be regional as he needs to defend his title of best top laner in Korea. Along with that, his chase for the LCK title that has eluded him so far during his career will continue. But if KeSPA Cup was any indication, this could be his year.
To watch League of Legends tournaments, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
Featured image courtesy of y.w kim (Kenzi) Flickr.
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